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Max Planck Center on University of Twente campus

The University of Twente (UT) is starting a new partnership with the renowned Max Planck Gesellschaft in Germany.

The Max Planck Center for Complex Fluid Dynamics will be opening on the UT campus before the end of 2016, President Victor van der Chijs announced at the opening of the academic year. The new Center will combine the resources of two prominent UT research groups and two Max Planck Institutes. This first Max Planck Center in the Netherlands, will be carrying out research into complex fluid dynamics phenomena, from nanodroplets to very large-scale turbulence.

The complex behaviour of fluids plays an essential role in renewable energy, chemical reactors, shipping, inkjet printers and biological processes. Fundamental research in this field therefore has an impact on a wide range of applications. The new Max Planck Center will build on the existing cooperation between two research groups at the UT (Detlef Lohse's Physics of Fluids and Albert van den Berg's BIOS Lab-on-a-chip) and the Max Planck Institutes in Göttingen (Dynamik und Selbstorganisation) and Mainz (Polymerforschung). It is an initiative of Detlef Lohse, who is himself a member of the Max Planck Gesellschaft, and his colleague, Prof. Eberhard Bodenschatz who is heading the Max Planck in Göttingen. The new research centre will be supported by the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Infrastructure and human resources

“Jointly, we have an extremely powerful infrastructure for experiments", Lohse explains. "Examples include the Taylor-Couette set-up in Twente and the ‘U-Boot’ in Göttingen, which enable us to investigate fully developed turbulence, and our ultra high-speed camera 'Brandaris'." UT’s MESA+ Institute is also famous for its work in the field of micro and nanofluidics: it cooperates with colleagues in Mainz and Göttingen on, for example, biological processes in a lab-on-a-chip or organ-a-chip system. Bodenschatz: “Apart from scientific cooperation and facility sharing, investing in human resources is at least as important. The Max Planck Center will bring leading scientists together and attract excellent young people, such as tenure trackers and postdocs, who will have the opportunity to set up their own lines of research.”

World class

“The Max Planck institutes are world-class organizations. We will be able to carry out groundbreaking research together at the new centre”, according to Victor van der Chijs, the president of the UT's Executive Board. “And this will have a magnetic effect on top talent. The establishment of both the Max Planck Center and the Fraunhofer Project Centre to be opened next month on the campus will reinforce the UT's position as the knowledge hub of the Netherlands and Germany.”

The Max Planck Gesellschaft has more than 80 institutes which carry out high-quality fundamental research in numerous areas in natural and life sciences as well as humanities. There are few Max Planck Centers in Europe, including ones at the ETH in Zurich and EPFL in Lausanne.

The partners will each reserve an additional sum of over a million euros for the new Max Planck Center on an annual basis. FOM and NWO will also contribute a million for the coming five years. The partnership will run for ten years, with an interim review after five years.

ir. W.R. van der Veen (Wiebe)
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